How to sync contacts from your iPhone to your Mac

Your contacts are some of the most valuable pieces of information on your phone. The last thing you want to see in your address book is that someone’s phone number didn’t copy over when you need it the most. Keep reading, and we’ll go over how to sync your contacts from your iPhone to your Mac, and also how to troubleshoot it if things don’t sync the way they should. 


Sync contacts from iPhone to Mac with iCloud

One of the easiest ways to sync contacts from your iPhone to your Mac is by using iCloud. The best part of iCloud is that not only will it make sure all your data is correct, but it also keeps updating your address book as you add new contacts or edit existing ones. And it doesn’t matter whether you add the contact on your Mac or if you make the change on your iPhone — your address book will always still in sync.

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How to sync contacts from iPhone to Mac using iCloud

To set the iCloud sync, you’ll need to log into the same iCloud account on both your iPhone and your Mac:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud. 
  2. Turn on Contacts.
  3. Tap Merge.
  4. Then on your Mac, click on the Apple menu in the top left-hand corner.
  5. Click System Preferences > iCloud.
  6. Switch on the toggle next to Contacts.
Screenshots: How to sync iPhone contacts to mac using iCloud

Why are my iPhone contacts not syncing with my Mac? 

When you sync contacts from your iPhone to your Mac, you should keep in mind that you’re actually syncing both devices with iCloud. So if you run into issues while trying to sync your contacts, these are the likely reasons behind them:

  • iCloud storage is full. If you’re out of iCloud storage, then nothing will sync with iCloud, including contacts. To quickly free up space, you can use the Gemini Photos app to clean up your photo library.
  • Your devices aren’t logged into the same iCloud account. Your iPhone and Mac may be signed into different iCloud accounts. 
  • Contact syncing is turned off. Somehow contact syncing may have been turned off on one or more of your devices. Use the steps above to verify it is enabled on all devices.

How do I force my iCloud contacts to sync? 

If your iCloud contacts are not syncing on their own, you can try force syncing them:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Contacts app.
  2. Scroll to the top of the screen.
  3. Pull down until you get the activity gear and it starts to refresh.

If, after you try that, your contacts still aren’t syncing, you can try to force the sync by logging out of iCloud and then logging back in. Here’s how:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > [your name] > Sign Out.
  2. Restart your phone.
  3. Log back into iCloud by going to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Add Account > iCloud and sign back in.

Transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac without iCloud

If you’re not already using iCloud or you just like using iTunes to sync your iPhone to your Mac, then don’t worry, there’s still a way for you to sync your contacts. The only thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have to sync contact manually every time you’ve updated or added something. 

Whereas iCloud typically updates every time you make a change to a contact when you sync without iCloud your contacts won’t update until the next time you connect your iPhone to your Mac.

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac using a USB cable

Before you try to sync your contacts using iTunes, it would be a smart idea to make sure iCloud contact syncing is turned off on your iPhone. When you’re done with that, follow these steps to sync your iPhone contacts to your Mac:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac via the USB cable.
  2. Open iTunes on your Mac.
  3. Click on the iPhone icon in the top left corner.
  4. In the sidebar, click Info.
  5. Check the box next to Sync Contacts.
  6. Click Apply at the bottom.

How to AirDrop contacts from iPhone to Mac 

If you only want to sync a handful of contacts and not your entire address book, a quick option would be to send them via AirDrop.

  1. On your iPhone, open the Contacts app.
  2. Find the contact you want to send.
  3. Tap Share Contact > AirDrop.
  4. Select your Mac.
  5. And then on your Mac, click Accept.
Screenshots: How to AirDrop iPhone contacts to a Mac


The contacts in the address book are more than just phone numbers and addresses; they’re how you communicate with the people in your life. So check out iCloud and use this article to help you set up and keep your contacts in sync, so that you have them close by anytime you need them.

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